By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Bowling Green State University’s acquisition of Mercy College is on pace to be completed by fall.
Interim Provost John Fischer told Faculty Senate Tuesday that BGSU officials have been meeting with the nursing and health college’s officials and students.
On Monday, he said, Mercy faculty and staff received letters from BGSU assuring them that they will remain employed when BGSU takes over operation of the college.
Pending state approval that will occur next fall. Completing the integration of the two institutions is expected to take up to three years.
BGSU soon will file its application to transfer Mercy’s operations to the Higher Learning Commission. That application process will involved site visits to both Mercy and BGSU. In June the HLC will vote on whether to approve the transfer, If it approves, the transfer will happen within 30 days.
Mercy will then become part of BGSU. But then it will take years to integrate its operations — financial aid, billing, course registration, email, and more — with the university.
Fischer said that Mercy students are “very passionate” about being part of that college. Many are post-traditional students. Mercy students expressed concerns about what their diplomas will say when they graduate.
BGSU officials said one of the attractions of the deal is Mercy’s success working with non-traditional students, something that’s essential for the university’s future health given the decline in the number of high school graduates.
Fischer said that one change will be that senators from Mercy College will be seated in Faculty Senate next fall.
How that happens will be driven by the Mercy faculty.
Fischer said that given enrollment is up at Mercy College, the transfer of operations should benefit BGSU financially.
The transfer of operations was first announced in September. Mercy College has 1,300 students in Toledo and another 200 in an associate’s degree program in Youngstown.
BGSU is ending its nursing education consortium with the University of Toledo. That arrangement was ended, officials said, so each institution could explore other options that will result in the education of more nurses. The nation, they say, is facing a shortage of nurses and other health professionals.
Students enrolled in that consortium will not have their studies interrupted.